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Garmin Points of Interest Installation Guide

Use Garmin's POI Loader Software to Update or Add Custom POI's to Your GPS Sat Nav - For Free!

Points of interest are a great way to add more functionality to your Garmin GPS Sat Nav, enabling you to quickly find and navigate to businesses, tourist attractions and services that aren't included in the default POI's that come pre installed on your device.

In this walk through guide we'll look at downloading and installing the required software from Garmin, then putting some POI's onto our device.

You will need a mini usb lead to connect your Garmin to your PC if you haven't got one already. I use my digital camera one, but you may need to try a few as I've received email from users who've had incompatible usb leads. (Never happened to me though.)

Warning: Using POI loader could delete any Custom POI's on your device. You are always recommended to back up your device before continuing.

Lets get started!

Garmin POI Loader home page

First head on over to the Garmin POI Loader home page and read all about the software, what it can do and which GPS Sat Nav's and operating systems it's compatible with.

POI loader download page
Now we need to start downloading it from this page. Make sure you click the right link - don't download POI Loader for a Mac (unless you've got one!) which I managed to do the first time I tried to do this!
Second poi loader download page

You'll now be sent to the page on the left.

Click on the download link to get started.

download mesage

You may be faced with this dialogue box, just click "Save File"

poi warning

After the software has downloaded and you try to run it, you may get this warning box.

Click "ok".

POI Loader will now install on your home PC.


POI Loader found device screen

After installation, POI Loader should run.

If it doesn't, it can be found if you click your PC's "Start" button, then "All Programs". "Garmin", "POI Loader"

Plug your GPS Sat Nav into your mini usb lead, enter your PIN code (which you should have activated for security) .

You should now see the screen on the left. If you're device isn't listed, make sure its plugged in and on, then click "Find Device".

Click on the "help" button and read the instructions, its not long and will help you understand what the software is capable of.

Click next.

Add or remove poi's

Now you should see this screen, in this exercise we want to install new custom POI's so we select the top option then click next,

choose poi files

Now we're faced with this screen. Make sure you change the units box to your preference.

We've also got to choose express or manual install, express in recommended for most users, but with manual you can edit the proximity warning settings for your POI's (eg if you wanted to have warnings about schools, etc).

We'll be using manual mode.

STOP! Before we go any further we're going to check our Garmin's POI folder and copy the stuff out of it and onto our PC.

We have to do this because any custom POI's we've installed - eg speed camera's - will be deleted when we install our new POI's.

See here for details.

Garmin nuvi internal folders

To get into your Nuvi, on your Desktop click "Start", "My Computer", then on the Garmin, then click the "Garmin" folder and you should see something like the screen on the left.

Double click the POI folder.

As you can see I've got the Garmin Cyclops Speed Camera POI's installed, so I'm going to control-click both files and "copy".
poi back-up folder

I've created a new folder in "my documents" on my desktop pc, called "Garmin pois" and I've copied my speed camera POI's to that folder.

Once we've downloaded some custom POI's we'll be putting then here too - so when we activate POI loader it will transfer everything back to our Garmin.

POI site

Lets head over to Maft.co.uk's Garmin POI download page.

Let's download the full file, the "categorised download".

Click on it, and we want to save it to the Garmin POI on our desktop. (Where the speed-cameras are.)


Downloaded POI's

Here they are, downloaded and ready to be extracted or unzipped, if you haven't done that already.

Another folder should appear, so go and have a look at what you've got.

POI folders

You should see something like this.

I'm going to install the "Attractions " POI to my Nuvi 200, so I double click the "Attractions" folder....

attractions poi's

Click "edit" (top of screen), "select all" and "copy".


Back to POI folder
Now we go back to our POI folder ("up", "up") and paste our poi's into place.
back to poi loader

Now if we get POI Loader back up, we can browse to our POI folder, select it, then "Next"

and we're done!

Unplug your Garmin and have a look at the new POI's.

It's a bit long winded, but once you've installed custom POI's once it easier the next time - just remember that POI loader deletes your old custom POI's!

Other POI sites:

Garmin list
POI Factory

Make your own poi's

Ah! You say, what about making my own POI files, well there's instructions on how to do it here, looks a bit time consuming though!

Another guide to making POI's here.

If you do have a go, post a comment below with how easy / hard it was so we care share that info with other users.

Thanks for reading!

If You Found This Article Useful, Why Not Buy Me A Beer? (£2 via Paypal - Click on the pint glass!)

Comments / Questions:

I've downloaded and transfered the csv files using POI loader for my Garmin nuvi 250 as per the posted instructions.  The POI section in the Garmin folder increases in size, so I know the information transfered but when I search for the updated information under points of interest none of it shows up.  Any thoughts? Laine.

You're looking in the wrong place - use "where to", then scroll down to "extras", and they should be in "custom poi's".

Sorry, this is probably a really dumb question, but is there a way to extract any of my POI's before adding my custom list, short of typing them out in full?
Damn good site by the way!

The POI's installed on the Garmin are treated differently, and seperately from Custom Files - see the guide for details - but everytime you use the POI Loader to install new Custom POI's, the old Custom ones get deleted, so make sure you back everything up first.

Hi, I'm a bit confused with my Garmin 300. I've uploaded speed cameras data bases (5 of them). They work but not exactly as I'd expect. During the installation I've used 'manual' option instead of 'express' so I've set a desired distances /alert speeds to every database. So some of them i.q. should alert only when approching with speed above 120mph which means in reality they shouldn't alert at all. But they still do alert and beep. Is there any solution to that issue? Thank you. Rafael

Sounds like a software issue to me, probably something you've got to live with, where the Nuvi just wants to warn you of all Speed Cameras. Maybe search some of the Garmin forums? Tell me how you get on. You could also check out the Garmin Webupdater.

Hi, i have 2 questions about Nuvi 200 and appreciate if you can help me out,

1. I read somewhere that if i want to add a second map, all i have to do is add the gmapsupp.img file to the sd ram card garmin folder. I have tried that but it does not work. Do you have the instruction on how to add a second map?.

2. In the built-in memory Garmin folder, it consists of many files and folders. What are these files for?. Any detail explaination availible in the Net?.


OK, if you're adding maps I'm pretty sure you've got to use Garmins Mapsource software.

The Nuvi is basically a little computer, so just like if you look in the systems folder on your desktop, there's loads of strange files and icons. Delete them at your peril.

Thanks for the very informative help. The instructions with screen shots are clear and precise. Cheers. Jay.

My pleasure, glad to be of help, what unit are you running?

I've deleted/lost my speed camera file,is there anyway i can retrieve it.thanks nigel

Why not just sign up for the free 30 day trial and get a new one through that?

I've tried that, but it recognises that i have already had the trial.
thanks for suggestion though.

Maybe a subscription is in order, I think it's still under £30...

Firstly, great site, Garmin can count me as a customer they may not have had if it hadn't been for your informative guides on the nuvi.

Just a quickie, I got a 250W for Xmas and experienced an unacceptable amount of lock-ups, distorted voices and occasional dimming of the backlight when in use, so I took it back to Halfords for an exchange, which I now have.

So far it works just fine and I am more than happy with the unit. However, I still occasionally get a distortion on the (UK English) voice - more of a hissing than a distortion, when she speaks. It will normally stop, and I only use the volume at 70% usually, possibly through being twisted and fiddled with on the windscreen mount. Is this a common thing with them do you know, as although the unit has not locked up or any of the other problems I had with my first one, this issue still crops up now and then? Would like to know of others' experiences of this.

Also I agree, new voices would be a great addition for Garmin. When compared to Tom Tom's selection of (admittedly mostly useless and grating) accompaniments, the woman is a bit mean and a bit severe :-) Cheers, Rob.

I haven't heard of any other problems with the voices on Nuvi's, it may be worth running the web-updater to check there haven't been any operating system updates, or reseting the device to clear the memory.
You're right about the voices - improvement needed Mr. Garmin!
Glad you enjoyed the site and thanks for the comments.

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